Facing the Monster

When I was a little girl I was convinced a monster lived under my white wrought iron daybed. I imagined it lying in wait, ready to grab my feet as soon as they touched the ground. My escape plan was to crouch on the edge of my bed and take the biggest leap possible off the side to avoid whatever terrible thing lurked where I could not see.

It took me 15 years (from the time I told my secret) to heal from the effects of sexual abuse. There were times it consumed me, nights of insomnia, and moments I felt my heart crumbling. But through all the pain God was there to hold my hand. He taught me to believe I could be made whole. The day finally came when I felt like I could live out the rest of my life and never talk about the abuse ever again. However, I didn’t expect the day I was finally ready to move forward would also be the day I was ready to face the monster, without fear, to put my feet firmly on the ground.

The monster I am referring to is our society’s epidemic—our sickness, the infinitely layered problem of sexual violence. There’s a part of me that is overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of this monster and I am not just speaking of the statistics which, in Alaska, include 37% of women who have experienced sexual violence (andvsa.org). I’m also speaking to those endless layers that cause so much debate; pornography and how we view sex and violence; the magnitude of effects that ripple out across generations and communities; the blame and shame game that shuts down the healing process; the misunderstood victim that becomes an addict, an anorexic, a prostitute, a suicide—just to skim the surface.

All of this started one year ago. Well, actually 23 years ago, but let’s fast forward to the end. Using my journal as a source of healing and release, I was able to find a connection with God. Examining my life through writing opened my heart to experience hope, then love, and finally forgiveness. A journal is a private place. I kept these spiritual moments to myself. But the same experiences that brought my healing process to an end put me on a whole new path, one whereon I am just taking my first steps. One year ago I opened my journals for others to read and began to shed light on my healing process. Doing so changed all my relationships and the way I interact with the world.

Now, as a whole person I’m ready to share what I learned. I can face the monster with the right armor—a strong and abiding love for my Savior and a testimony of His Atonement. David killed Goliath with a single stone (1 Samuel 17). I do not expect history to repeat itself here.  A single stone will not be sufficient to defeat this monster, but I do believe working together with God there is a path to victory.

As I stepped onto this path I became more aware of just how big a monster I’m taking on. Feeling overwhelmed, I quickly realized I need to pace myself and narrow my focus. Looking back on my personal experience, the things I needed the most were answers and support for spiritual healing. Having a support system is key in the healing process, so after much thought, this blog will be dedicated to two goals. First, provide a place for victims of sexual violence to find answers, understanding, and experience healing. Second, provide information and connecting people with resources so they can better respond to victims in crisis.  I hope I can be part of the support system for a victim, a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a church member, or just a bystander.

I view this blog as a journal, a window into my life and how I experience healing. Starting this blog will allow me to use this journal as a tool to fight the monster.  Journaling brought me to this point, so I believe journaling will continue to impact my spiritual growth and hopefully along the way provide light for others. It’s a work in progress but so am I! And like me, I anticipate this blog will grow day after day, year after year, reaching out to those who need it.